AMENDMENT OF PLEADING

Explain the concept of amendment of pleading.

Whenever, a suit is filed by plaintiff in any court he submits a copy of plaint and on the other hand in that suit defendant files a copy of written statement. According to Order 6 Rule 1 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, a pleading shall mean plaint or written statement and these are submitted in the court just to assist the court in determining the real dispute between the parties.

In the leading case of Bharat Singh v. State of Haryana, AIR 1988 SC 2181, the Hon’ble court stated that “Pleading” is defined as plaint or written statement.
Moreover, in the leading case of J.K. Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. v. Mazdoor Union, AIR 1956 SC 231, the Hon’ble court laid down that the whole object of pleadings is to bring parties to definite issues and to diminish expense and delay and to prevent surprise at the hearing. A party is entitled to know the case of his opponent so that he can meet it. In other words, the sole object of pleadings is to ascertain the real disputes between the parties, to narrow down the area of conflict and to see where the two sides differ, to preclude one party from taking the other by surprise and to prevent miscarriage of justice.

According to the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, it is essential for the parties to mention all the material facts in their pleadings because the decision of court is always based upon the material facts which are mentioned in the pleadings. But sometimes after submitting the pleadings either plaintiff or defendant feels that he has failed to mention some important facts in their pleadings and it may cause injustice to him. That is why, sometimes parties after submitting their pleadings, wants to amend them and Order 6 Rule 17 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, provides the opportunity to parties to amend their pleadings.

According to Order 6 Rule 17 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, if any of the party to suit wants to amend his pleading and he files an application before the court, the court may allow him to do so at any stage of the proceedings but it will allow the amendment only if it is necessary for determining the real dispute between the parties.

In the leading case of Pirgonda Patil v. Kalgonda Patil, AIR 1957 SC 363, the Hon’ble court held that the object of the Rule is that the courts should try the merits of the cases that come before them and should consequently allow the amendments that may be necessary for determining the real question in controversy between the parties provided it does not cause injustice or prejudice to the other side.

According to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, it is not mandatory for the court to allow the amendment of the pleadings. It is wide discretion of the court and if the court thinks that the amendment is not necessary then in such case, the court can refuse to amend the pleadings.

In the leading case of Ganga Bai v. Vijay Kumar, AIR 1974 SC 1126, the Hon’ble court held that the power to allow the amendment is undoubtedly wide and may at any stage be appropriately exercised in the interest of justice, the law of limitation notwithstanding. But the exercise of such far- reaching discretionary powers is governed by judicial considerations and wider the discretion, greater ought to be the care and circumspection on the part of the court.

According to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, while determining the application for amending the pleadings, the court tries to maintain the balance between both the parties. Before deciding the application, the court analysis that if it allows the application whether grave injustice is caused to opposite party or if it does not allow the application then whether injustice is caused to applicant. Moreover, along with these facts the court also considers that whether the amendment is necessary for determining the real dispute between the parties and whether the applicant is negligent and without any bona fide intention he failed to mention the material fact in his pleading which he wanted to mention after the amendment of the pleading. After analyzing all the facts, the court decides the application.

In the leading case of Modi Spg. & Wvg. Mills Co. Ltd. v. Ladha Ram, AIR 1977 SC 680, the Hon’ble court held that leave to amend will be refused if it introduces a totally different, new and inconsistent case or changes the fundamental character of the suit or defence.

The main aim of the Indian Justice System is to administer justice to an aggrieved party and not to punish him for their little mistakes. If the party diligently fails to mention the material facts in his pleadings and these facts are essential for determining the real dispute between the parties then in such case if the party wants to amend his pleading, the court should allow him to amend the pleadings. But, even after obtaining the consent of court of the party does not amend the pleadings within the prescribed time period then in such case after the expiry of that period he can not amend the pleadings. But if the party gives the proper reason for not amending the pleadings in the prescribed time period and court considers that reason reasonable then in such case the court may extend the time period and allow the party to amend the pleadings.

In the leading case of M. C. Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1987 SC 1086, the Hon’ble Court stated that we can not be oblivious of facts of life namely, the parties in courts are mostly ignorant and illiterate- unversed in law. Sometimes their counsel is also inexperienced and not properly equipped and the court should endeavor to ascertain the truth to do justice to the parties.

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